Christmas Safety 2020

Christmas Home Safety Advice

Fire safety around the home doesn't stop at Christmas, with an increased amount of cooking and electrical appliances, it is even more important to stay vigilant with safety awareness. This Christmas, we are highlighting some key areas of safety:

  • Test your smoke alarms regularly. We recommend having one on every level of your home.
  • Be particularly vigilant if you have candles in your home around this time. Every year, Shropshire Residents have fires started by candles. Usually this is because they are placed too close to flammable items. Please take care and keep them out of reach of children. Our candle safety article from Valentine's Day has lots of useful advice.
  • Do you have a log burner in your house? As wonderful as they are, stockpiling wood nearby can present a fire risk. During Christmas 2019 we attended a house fire caused by the logs stacked against a burner catching alight. Keep the surrounding area clear of anything flammable and install a carbon monoxide alarm.
  • Are you in charge of the Christmas dinner this year? Remember to take care, watch what you heat and don't leave your cooking unattended.

Christmas Road and Water Safety Advice

Although it may not seem like the right time of year to go for a swim, most people who end up in water did not intend to enter it. Alcohol, dark evening and slippery conditions can mean that water safety is even more imperative around the festive period. Similarly, road conditions can be treacherous and extra care should be taken at all times. Our safety advice this year is:

  • Keep an eye on your friends. Don't let them drive home if they are over the limit https://bit.ly/3m8KWPE
  • Stay safe near water this Christmas - stay away from the edge of large bodies of water as edges can be slippery. If you have been drinking and must walk home near water, try to find an alternative route beforehand - around a quarter of adult drowning victims have alcohol in their bloodstream.
  • 1 in 5 drink driving incidents happen the morning after a night out. You could still be over the limit the following morning. https://bit.ly/33gqhBG
  • Make sure you get this Christmas. Don't let your friends walk home alone after a few drinks if they go near water. Arrange a taxi or go with them: https://bit.ly/364c5gP

Christmas Business Advice

The festive period can be a very busy time for businesses, particularly the retail sector. Coupled with the need to potentially change the way a business operates to combat the additional challenges posed by COVID-19, business owners are encouraged to review their general fire precautions to ensure they are meeting their obligations.

To cope with demand, the festive period sees businesses change stock levels, employ new staff and change the way they operate. If not managed correctly these changes can have a detrimental affect on fire safety measures and can place customers, staff and your business at risk. In turn, this can lead to you falling foul of the requirements of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

How can you reduce this risk? Below are some key considerations:

Review your fire risk assessment

Has your fire risk assessment been updated? Your premises fire risk assessment should accurately reflect how your premises is used. As your business naturally changes or progresses either for the festive period, COVID-19, or in general, your fire risk assessment should also change. 

Ensure any increase in stock levels does not impact on fire safety

Are you storing extra stock? Stock levels can be very transient, but in general, may increase around the festive period to cope with demand. Ensure the safety of those that use your building and protect your business by making sure that stock is appropriately stored and managed in a way that ensures escape routes can be used at all times and that fire safety equipment (fire extinguishers, break glass call points, directional escape signage etc.) are not obstructed.

Stay up-to-date with your maintenance and testing regimes

How are you ensuring that your fire safety systems remain in working order? Fire detection and warning systems, emergency lighting and other fire safety systems (such as sprinklers and smoke control, where fitted) must be maintained in good working order. They should be tested and maintained in accordance with the relevant British Standard.  This ensures that the provisions in place at your premises will work correctly and fulfil their purpose in the event of a fire.

Provide all staff with appropriate fire safety training

Do all your staff know what actions to take in the event of a fire? Staff members knowing what to do in the event of a fire is key to mitigating the effects of a fire, protecting occupants of your premises and reducing the impact on your business. All staff (this includes any temporary members) should receive appropriate training.

Get in touch

Do you have a question about business fire safety? Do you have a query or a concern that you would like to discuss with an Inspecting Officer? Contact us by emailing businessfiresafety@shropshirefire.gov.uk or call us on 01743 260200 and ask to speak to the Duty Fire Safety Officer.

Merry Christmas from the Protection Department.